Lawrence Berkeley Lab

  www.lbl.gov
  www.lbl.gov

Lawrence Berkeley Lab Reviews in San Francisco, CA

Updated October 14, 2014
Updated October 14, 2014
168 Reviews
3.7
168 Reviews
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Lawrence Berkeley Lab Lab Director Paul Alivisatos
Paul Alivisatos
73 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • good work life balance, smart people(depends on the team) (in 10 reviews)

  • Often many smart people and continuous access to smart UC Berkeley students that flow through (in 14 reviews)


Cons
  • INSANELY expensive cost of living (in 4 reviews)

  • Funding is highly precarious at the moment, and DOE funding is basically gone for any life science research (in 4 reviews)

More Highlights

101 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Good place when you have good supervisor, but can be too focused on year-to-year funding cycles without long term view

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Associate in Berkeley, CA
    Current Employee - Research Associate in Berkeley, CA

    I have been working at Lawrence Berkeley Lab full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    A world-class institute for science means that you are surrounded by talented and curious peers. The pay and compensation are good with great benefits.

    Cons

    Hardest part is that lab does not have long term funding commitments for staff. Instead you and your supervisor need to be continually developing relationships with DOE funders and matching your skills with program manager interests. Since turnover rates for DOE program managers can be high, you end up without clear long term direction required for good science.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management can improve process for identifying strategic research areas and providing an environment for researchers to get work done in that area without chasing latest trends.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Student Assistant in Berkeley, CA
    Current Employee - Student Assistant in Berkeley, CA

    I have been working at Lawrence Berkeley Lab part-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Beautiful view from most of the campus; Great colleagues that are smart and in the know on a variety of current technology and scientific research; Cool events happening all the time; I had very flexible hours, but this might not be true for everyone.

    Cons

    No major drawbacks--lots of training (ergonomic, lab safety, etc.), but that is probably a good thing

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Experience can very a lot depending upon your "credentials"

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Staff Scientest in Berkeley, CA
    Former Employee - Staff Scientest in Berkeley, CA

    I worked at Lawrence Berkeley Lab full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Often many smart people and continuous access to smart UC Berkeley students that flow through. Opportunity to do interesting, impactful and sometimes important work. Opportunities for building professional contacts and reputation. Relaxed environment and great setting.

    Cons

    Highly political (but where not?), many egos to deal with, little close parking, old buildings, many staff who did great work once but do little but collect $ now.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    High pressure, low pay, terrible place to work for engineers

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Scientific Engineering Associate in Berkeley, CA
    Current Employee - Scientific Engineering Associate in Berkeley, CA

    I have been working at Lawrence Berkeley Lab full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    I like the location and views from LBL. I also appreciate how they promote alternative transportation and have a general altruistic mission. There are many academic seminars and forward thinking research projects happening on campus, both at LBL and UC Berkeley.

    Cons

    Working at LBL is what I think it might be like to work at a nonprofit: high pressure, low pay, underappreciated. At first I was ok with it, because I thought the goal was admirable and worthwhile. However, over time I realize that there is a hierarchy here. Too many project managers, not enough engineers on a project. EETD does not value engineers. The department treats engineers like technicians, and only values program managers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you need skillful engineers to build your technical infrastructure, you need to start paying and valuing your engineers similar to other companies.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Amazing science...at a price.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Communications in Berkeley, CA
    Former Employee - Communications in Berkeley, CA

    I worked at Lawrence Berkeley Lab full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Smart people. Grand vision. Exciting research and diverse facilities. Great views.

    Cons

    Huge egos abound. Political winds blow its mission around. No parking or good eating options outside of expensive (and declining) cafeterias. Extremely high cost of living and somewhat suffocating Berkeley environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Ease off on the constant kowtowing to lab managers and DOE.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    A great place for research, good benefits, great location, lots of beurocracy

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Computer Systems Engineer II in Berkeley, CA
    Current Employee - Computer Systems Engineer II in Berkeley, CA

    I have been working at Lawrence Berkeley Lab full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Depending on your department the lab has fairly flexible hours, time off is pretty standard, and there are lots of paid holidays per year. The research being done at the lab is important.

    Cons

    The lab is set up for research, its hard to advance when you're not on the scientist track. There is a good amount of bureaucracy to wade through, lots of forms to fill out, online trainings to take, etc.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Great group of people working together for the greater good.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Principal Subcontracts Administrator in Berkeley, CA
    Current Employee - Principal Subcontracts Administrator in Berkeley, CA

    I have been working at Lawrence Berkeley Lab full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Great work-life balance. Easy atmosphere. Great research and development opportunities. Really making a difference in the world. In the process of upgrading their PeopleSoft financial system to a much newer version. This will hopefully make some of the work a little easier. But there will be some hard times during the initial roll-out, which is expected at any company when making such a big jump in software versions. I applaud the Lab for spending the money and time to roll out this latest version.

    Cons

    Systems can be tricky to learn, Having to understand both Educational and Government procurement, because the Lab is run by the University of California, but is funded by the Department of Energy.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Beautiful location with view of SF Bay and great scientists to work with.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Computer Systems Engineer II in Berkeley, CA
    Former Employee - Computer Systems Engineer II in Berkeley, CA

    I worked at Lawrence Berkeley Lab full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Scientific community, great pay, great benefits, run by the University of California, close to UC Berkeley, tuition paid for is it relates to your job, and many noble prize winners work here.

    Cons

    Parking can be a problem if get there in the afternoon and office space is limited so they are expanding to Richmond.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep open communication with your employees and treat them with respect and dignity. Hire more women!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Wonderful pure research environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Physicist Postdoctoral Fellow in Berkeley, CA
    Current Employee - Physicist Postdoctoral Fellow in Berkeley, CA

    I have been working at Lawrence Berkeley Lab full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Colleagues and mentors that are world leaders in their field. Top-notch administrative and technical support for any problems you need help with. You can focus almost solely on research, however, there is an excellent opportunity to mentor graduate students and exceptional undergraduates from UC-Berkeley, and they're among the brightest students in the world.

    Cons

    Due to DOE funding structure, certain papers may need to focus on something that fits well in that structure, and doesn't necessarily match your final interests in the paper. Very difficult to transition from postdoc to more permanent position. INSANELY expensive cost of living. Housing costs are going up way faster than salaries.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Awesome environment, smart and friendly colleagues.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Project Scientist (Materials Science) in Berkeley, CA
    Former Employee - Project Scientist (Materials Science) in Berkeley, CA

    I worked at Lawrence Berkeley Lab full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Lots of learning opportunities. I had the chance to work with really smart people that were always willing to share their knowledge and expertise and to collaborate.

    Cons

    The only thing I have to complain about is the absence of an on-site daycare facility. Considering the size of LBNL, it would be extremely useful.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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